March 31, 2005

Olympic Medal Winners To Receive RM1,000-
RM3,000 Monthly

PUTRAJAYA, March 31 (Bernama) -- Winners of the gold, silver and bronze medals at the Olympic Games will each receive a fixed monthly allowance of RM3,000, RM2,000 and RM1,000 respectively, the Cabinet Committee on Sports Development announced Thursday.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the medal winners would receive the monthly allowance throughout their lives from the date they won the Olympic medal.
"The rate is the same for sportsmen and athletes participating in individual or team events," he told reporters after chairing the meeting which was also attended by several cabinet ministers.
Following the decision, Najib said five national badminton players who had won medals at the Olympic Games previously were eligible to receive the fixed allowance and payment would begin in January 2006.
They are Razif and Jailani Sidek who won the bronze at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992, Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock who won the silver in Atlanta in 1996 and Rashid Sidek who won the bronze also in Atlanta.
Najib explained that although the scheme was earlier known as the pension scheme for Olympic medal winners, the meeting today decided to change the name to fixed monthly allowance scheme to avoid confusion with the government's pension scheme paid to retirees.
He said the allowance would not be extended to the next of kin upon the death of the athlete.
Athletes who had won more than one medal at the Olympic would be paid the monthly allowance for one medal while for the other Olympic medals, the athlete concerned would be given other rewards.
Najib said the monthly allowance scheme would be additional to the cash reward scheme for winners under the National Sports Council (NSC).
He did not rule out the possibility that similar payments would be given to athletes who had achieved outstanding feats while participating in other sports meets of world standard.
"This matter would be scrutinised by the NSC and the Ministry of Youth and Sports," he said.
In addition, Najib said, the welfare of athletes was also being looked after as the meeting today approved an initial fund of RM1 million for the Athletes Welfare Fund.
"This is to help athletes facing difficulty in terms of paying the cost of medical treatment or for other purposes that could be considered by the NSC," he said.
National sportsmen would also be accorded flexibility in terms of education whereby the duration of their studies, such as at the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia and university levels, could be extended.
Najib said the meeting also accepted the proposal that athletes, who were considered by the NSC as having good potentials, be accepted for enrolment at public institutions of higher learning (IPTAs) with the minimum entry qualification.
"And at the IPTAs, they will also be given flexibility in terms of the duration of their studies and credit hours for each semester," he said.
He said the committee also approved the proposal that athletes with potentials be considered for posts in the public service, including the armed forces and police.
Najib said 15 state sports centres had been identified for the purpose of sports development and the number would continue to increase.

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